CARTIER | CORAL AND DIAMOND BRACELET
Property Formerly from the Collection of Ganna Walska, Thence by Direct Descent to the Present Owner
CORAL AND DIAMOND BRACELET
Designed as three rows of carved coral beads, the top row embellished with single-cut diamonds, length 7¾ inches, signed Cartier, Made in France, numbered CC207, with French assay marks; dated 1932.
In very good condition, with light wear to the mounting, commensurate with age. French assay marks for platinum. The coral medium strongly reddish orange color, well-matched in overall good condition, some with light white mottling and a few with minor blemishes to the surface, visible under close inspection, well-matched for color. The diamonds estimated to weigh approximately 0.40 carat are approximately G-H color, VS clarity. Width of bracelet approximately ⅝ inch. Fitted with a safety clasp. Nicely flexible. Accompanied by a copy of a letter from Cartier to Madame Ganna Walska dated July 7, 1932. Please note this property cannot be shipped internationally due to endangered species materials.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's). Please also note that we do not guarantee, and are not responsible for, any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the lot. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the relevant section the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE .
Illustrated in Ganna Walska: Portraits of an Era by Hania Tallmadge, page 44.
For bracelets of similar design, see Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary by Hans Nadelhoffer, plate 75 and Amazing Cartier by Nadine Coleno, page 81.
Madame Ganna Walska (1887-1984) lived in the limelight for many years as a singer and socialite. Her penchant for high fashion and jewelry was fed by the largesse of several wealthy husbands. What she didn’t do was wear the fashion of those around her, proclaiming herself “an enemy of the average.”
Although Madame Walska’s early career as a vocalist was sometimes rocky, she later enjoyed success in small auditoriums and concert halls across Europe and America. She appeared with Enrico Caruso in New York and also performed several times at Carnegie Hall. In addition, her devotion to theater arts was strong. When her husband, Harold McCormick, made her a gift of the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris in 1923, she took up the new cause with vigor and passion. Through her management and a world class orchestra, the theater went on to host many premiers of modern music and dance. To help support her theater, Madame Walska entered into commerce by way of a perfume and cosmetics line. Unfortunately, the economy was on the verge of collapse and with the onset of the Great Depression, she was forced to abandon the enterprise.
Throughout her marriage to Harold McCormick, head of the International Harvester Company, Madame Walska maintained her primary residence in Paris where she spent most of her time, but she also maintained her New York apartment (with an eye to protecting her American passport). After her divorce from McCormick in 1931, she continued to live in Paris, as well as a chateau outside of Versailles. As the second war loomed, she fled to New York ahead of the advancing Nazi forces, financially contributing from afar Polish charitable organizations such as the I.J. Padarewski Invalid Fund and the Polish Red Cross.
As the war raged, Madame Walska sought a safe haven in Southern California. Her Montecito estate began to cast its spell over her, and her feeling of duty and stewardship spurred her to action. As with her other accomplishments, she created a garden that was anything but average.
Even though she was a petite 5’3” tall, Madame Walska was fond of wearing unique, and often large jewelry. Precious and semi-precious stones of all types were crafted into necklaces, bracelets, belts, and brooches for her. Even a few tiaras graced her coiffure as she appeared at the theater and other gala events during her lifetime. The houses of Cartier, Boucheron, and Suzanne Belperron were no stranger to her. She often actively participated in designing and redesigning historic jewels from the days of Napoleon, the Russian empire, and even some from former potentates in India. In 1971, she auctioned off many of these jewels and garnered the necessary funds to continue her visionary plans for Lotusland, which is now considered one of the top ten gardens in the world.
In that same spirit of generosity, a portion of the proceeds from this bracelet’s sale will likewise benefit the public charity that bears her name, Ganna Walska Lotusland.